What can we all do to lighten the burden of the masses?

Today, Nigerian Christians will join their counterparts all over the world to mark Christmas, a spiritual festival that enjoins goodwill to all men. But beyond the conspicuous consumption for which this season is known as well as the decoration of streets and houses with special festoons and rosettes, exchange of gifts and singing of carols, this Christmas should compel deep reflection by many Nigerians, especially those in authorities. They must begin to ask the hard question: What can we do to lighten the burden of a great majority of our people? 

In specific terms, this season, more than anything else, urges all Christians to re-live that historical event which took place more than 2000 years ago, when Christ was born in the relatively humble town of Bethlehem in Judea. That birth, as well as the mission of salvation connected with it, was at once a promise of redemption from spiritual death, a declaration of an end to the reign of darkness and a call to mankind to embrace the light of God. Besides, Christ, after whom Christians ought to model themselves, was an embodiment of humility and service to others – enduring virtues that are in short supply in the world we live in today. 

As we therefore mark Christmas, the privileged of our society must consider the many for whom this season is just another reminder of their woes. In our country today, the plight of the under-privileged is steadily worsening and many go to bed with less than a survival diet. The unemployment crisis has created a lost generation of graduates who cannot find jobs. Many of them are exasperated. Public officials at all levels should therefore pay serious attention to the challenge of those who cannot celebrate this season because they have no means to do so. 

It is sad that while a few Nigerians are living in scandalous opulence, many are suffering in abject penury, frustration and seeming hopelessness. Therefore, this Christmas once again affords our leaders the opportunity for sober reflection on what they must do to make a difference. If Jesus Christ came to serve and not to be served, our leaders should learn to bring light to the dark land; hope to the hopeless; justice to the oppressed and integrity to the wasteland.  

On the spiritual front, Christmas gives the believer a unique opportunity to re-examine himself/herself. Unfortunately, what largely obtains in Nigeria today is a Christianity that seems eager to pursue wealth and personal pleasure, most often at the expense of the larger society. Yet, to re-live the exemplary virtues that featured at the first Christmas, adherents must truly love their fellow human beings and that must reflect in their service to the country and their communities. This is a lesson that will serve us today given the difficulty most Nigerians experience. We must eschew hatred, rancour, greed and avarice. We must build an ethic of human solidarity aimed at promoting the common good and the welfare of fellow men and women.  

Finally, Christmastime is a season of joy. It is a period for family to stay together. It is a time to regain our laughter and sense of humour. And it is a period we must all share. The ultimate lesson is that while life may sometimes be very cruel, our optimism must never wane. The life of Christ to whom this season is dedicated is a demonstration that no odds are too high to surmount so as individuals and as a nation, we must hold on to the hope that we will overcome our challenges. 

We wish all our readers a joyful and peaceful Christmas. 

Related Articles